December 16: Las Posadas

December 16 is the first day of Las Posadas, literally translated “the lodgings.” Although this nine day celebration began in Spain, today it’s primarily held in Mexico, Guatemala, and portions of the United States.

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst 1622Las Posadas are a time or remembering and reenacting Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Although there are many variations, traditionally, a small crowd goes from house to house, either with statues of Mary and Joseph or a couple dressed as them. The first several homes turn them away, often by singing a traditional back and forth carol. Then, the group is finally admitted into the last house (or church).

Inside, they begin with prayers around a Nativity scene, before singing more carols, sharing special foods, and breaking a star shaped pinata.

Although I’ve spent a lot of time near San Antonio, I have never been there at Christmastime, and never participated in their version of this. La Gran Posada is a city wide celebration, ending at the San Fernando Cathedral (but, at least this year, it’s only held on the first night of Las Posadas, December 16). If you get a chance to go, do it, and let me know how it went!

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Luke 2:6-7

 

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